REMEMBRANCE DAY at Ibrox proved to be a day to remember for Rangers fans at a sold-out Ibrox, as their side returned to winning ways in style with an impressive performance against Kilmarnock.
Mark Warburton’s men, wearing commemorative poppy shirts, looked the part as they claimed all three points in front of a huge crowd of 49,302.
A terrific goal from Lee Wallace after 15 minutes was just what the doctor ordered after the frustrating midweek draw with St Johnstone, and Lee Clark’s men suffered another blow when Andy Halliday tucked away a penalty before the half-hour mark to make it 2-0 after Stevie Smith had brought down Jason Holt in the box.
Joe Garner made it 3-0 just after the break and, given the number of chances Rangers created, the only surprise was that they failed to extend their lead further towards the end of the club’s annual Remembrance fixture.
A L118 light gun was fired by soldiers from 207 (City of Glasgow) Battery, part of 105 Regiment Royal Artlillery, at the start and end of a perfectly observed minute of silence before kick-off, but it wasn’t long before the Ibrox faithful were back out of their seats as Rangers came flying out the traps.
In the first minute a powerful drive from Jason Holt soared past Jamie McDonald’s left hand post before man of the match Michael O’Halloran accelerated to the byline but there were no takers after he produced a clever cut-back cross.
Josh Windass then tried his luck from distance but MacDonald did well to hold the ball as he endured a busy start to his afternoon in front of the Broomloan Road Stand.
At the other end of the pitch Killie’s left winger Jordan Jones was showing flashes of his pace and with five minutes on the clock he darted past James Tavernier and his shot from a tight angle flew across Foderingham’s goal and out for a goal kick.
Having conceded early against the Saints in midweek Rangers would have wanted to get their noses in front in this game and they did just that on 15 minutes.
Windass’ vision and superb pass to Lee Wallace split the Killie defence, and the skipper then showed great composure to slot the ball inside MacDonald’s near post.
The goal was just what the Light Blues needed and before the half-hour mark they doubled their advantage from the penalty spot after former Ibrox star Steven Smith bundled Jason Holt over in the box with a clumsy challenge.
Halliday stepped up and his accurate penalty beat MacDonald, who dived low to his right but never looked like getting near to the ball.
Across the pitch every Rangers player was impressing, including centre back Clint Hill who saw a header cleared off the line as the half-time interval approached.
The former QPR stopper appeared to take a knock as he rose to meet the ball but after treatment he jogged back onto the pitch to warm applause from the vociferous home support who cheered their team up the tunnel when ref John Beaton whistled for the break.
It was deserved too, with Garner, O’Halloran and Windass standouts, although every player in the Gers eleven put in a great shift throughout an impressive opening forty-five.
The home side’s dominance continued in the second half and within two minutes of the restart a third goal had been scored.
Windass’ volley towards goal bounced into the ground and it fell perfectly for Garner who flicked a shot from six yards beyond the helpless MacDonald.
Kris Boyd was immediately introduced by Lee Clark but this did little to ease the constant pressure on the visitors’ backline.
A downward header from Tavernier had to be tipped over and young Greg Taylor will probably have nightmares tonight as he struggled to contain O’Halloran’s blistering runs on the right flank.
Miller was also a contender for man of the match and when Halliday slalomed through the Killie midfield and fed the ball to the former Scotland striker, MacDonald had to be at his best to palm his long-range shot around the post.
With Boyd already on for the visitors Warburton made his first changes to his team on the 70-minute mark with Martyn Waghorn and Joe Dodoo replacing Miller and Garner, who received a standing ovation as they left the pitch.
The introduction of Matt Crooks five minutes later was another positive on an afternoon when this Rangers squad showed what it is capable of when all guns are firing.
Mark Warburton always says his aim is to send fans home happy and his players did that today with a terrific display of attacking football which an in-form Kilmarnock side were unable to cope with.
RANGERS: Foderingham; Tavernier, Kiernan, Hill, Wallace; Windass (Crooks 75), Halliday, Holt; O’Halloran, Garner (Dodoo 70), Miller (Waghorn 70)
SUBS: Gilks, McKay, Forrester, Hodson
GOALS: Wallace 5, Halliday 28pen, Garner 47
KILMARNOCK: MacDonald; Hendrie, Addison, Boyd, Taylor; Smith; Coulibaly, Dicker, McKenzie, Jones; Tyson (Boyd 52)
SUBS: MacKay, Boyle, Smith, Frizzell, Bojaj, Burn
BOOKINGS: Dicker, McKenzie
REF: John Beaton